Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview: Jeannette Cook...

Jeannette Cook is the owner and creative force behind Beady Eyed Women. She is a talented artist who uses beads as her medium and is the author of several instructional bead-weaving books. Jeannette has taught around the world and continues to do shows across the country selling finished jewelry, kits, and tutorials. To find out more about Jeannette, visit her website by CLICKING HERE or visit her blog by CLICKING HERE.

Andrew Thornton: Many of your designs incorporate bright colors, organic shapes and sparkling crystals. How do you come up with your ideas and what influences this "signature style"?

Jeannette Cook: I'm drawn to bright colors. So color really is its own influence when I work. Sometimes I have a lampwork bead that I pull my color palette from. Sometimes I just see an object that has colors I love and I run to my bead stash and pull together a color palette based on that.

AT: You were one of the first beading teachers before the Bead Shop Boom, the explosion of How-to-Jewelry-Making books and the mega shows registering 600 classes. What are your impressions of beading classes now? How have things changed?

JC: Back in the early days, there were no handouts and no kits. Students were as new to classes as teachers were. There were no bead shows, few books and no magazines when I began teaching. People would bring a note pad and pencil to take notes with during class. They learned by just beading. Then teachers would do a hand drawn and photocopied brief handout. Projects were much simpler then, so that worked.

As projects got more complicated, so did the handouts. Now they are amazing! There are programs to illustrate beads. Students at shows and in most classes are much more demanding. Classes are quite expensive now. There were about six nationally known teachers when I began, now there are hundreds!

AT: What is your teaching philosophy? How do you prepare yourself for tackling a class full of new students?

JC: My philosophy is very customer service oriented. I want my students to get the most out of a class as possible. Having fun in class while learning is also very important. I try to help people stop and slow down and play with their beads. No bringing work or home stresses to class, if possible. This is our fun time and time to create. I ask that all cell phones are turned off or on vibrate if they must have them on. Then, take it outside.

I prepare by making sure that students already know the basic stitches when they arrive in class. After teaching for more than 26 years, I have seen it all. I will send a tutorial if needed and ask that people learn the basic stitches that will be used in the project before they come to class.

AT: Out of all your kits, classes, and tutorials, what are some of your favorite designs?

JC: I still love Freeform Sculptural Peyote Stitched pieces. My all time favorite is the GeoMagical Frenzy Necklace. You will see me wear it a lot at shows. I made five of them! I sold one and still have and wear the rest. I adore the beaded vessels I made years ago. They don't get to travel since they get mashed in transport.


kate mckinnon said...

Jeannette's work is a lovely trajectory of colour, just like Jeannette herself.

AJ said...

Jeannette is just so much fun and such a sweetie! I'm glad I got to hang out and chat with her this year, usually we only see each other in passing.

LulaJean said...

Jeannette's is one of my top favorite beadweaving teachers. Besides her amazing designs, her color sense is just full on fun! I love "her colors" so much
I planted a garden with purple, orange, pink and green, and call it Jeannette's garden.
She's a rock star in my book!
Thanks Jeannette for sharing part of you!

babapaul said...

Having just spent a week with Jeannette I can imagine she is a terrific teacher. I got to see a lot of her work which is gorgeous! I was lucky enough to get 2 amazing bracelets. She is a very nurturing soul. Love me some Jeannette!